‘Use it or lose it’ is a frequently quoted maxim however it is never more appropriate than when talking about flexibility and stretching. Think of a long car journey which lasts several hours. When you get to your destination, the chance to climb out of the seat and stretch is very welcome and at the outset your movements are stiff and uncomfortable.
However, after stretching out you already feel much better and your normal mobility comes back. Imagine if you had to embark on a long car journey every day – your flexibility would suffer badly – which gets us back to the ‘use it or lose it’ maxim.
What Are The Basics Of Stretching?
If there’s one widespread truth about stretching, it’s that we all need do it. However, few of us really do. Personal training experts say it’s the part of a workout that most people tend to skip. Stretching can make an enormous difference in how your muscles react to exercise. Stretching warms your muscles and muscles which are warm are much more pliant.
Stretching is the slow lengthening of muscles in order to increase flexibility in the muscles as well as range of motion in the joints. Regular stretching may also help improve stability as well as balance. As a result, stretching activities are an important part of any exercise or rehabilitation program, no matter your age or fitness level.
What Are Common Beliefs About Stretching?
The Best Time For You To Stretch Is After You Exercise As Your Muscles Are Warm
True and false: It’s much safer to stretch a warm muscle. Warm muscles are far more relaxed and have larger range of motion. However, walking briskly or jogging for about five minutes, until you break a light sweat, is an ample warm-up for stretching. In an ideal world, you’ll stretch a few minutes into as well as after your workout.
There’s Only One Single “Right” Way To Stretch
False: There are really a half-dozen or more ways to stretch. A number of the most common are listed here.
Stretch a particular muscle until you feel tension. Then hold the position for between 15 and 60 seconds. This is considered to be the safest way to stretch. Done gently, this type of stretching allows muscles and connective tissue ample time to “reset” the stretch reflex.
Active Isolated (AI) Stretching
Stretch a certain muscle until you feel tension. Hold this position for just one or two seconds. Frequently, you need to use a rope or your hands to get a muscle to its stretching point. As you don’t force the muscle to remain contracted, the muscle which is being worked actually remains relaxed. This being said, critics warn of the risk of overstretching, particularly if you’re making use of a rope.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching
Contract a muscle and the release it. Stretch. This is frequently carried out with the help of a partner who “pushes” the stretch. While PNF may be very effective, it may also be dangerous if not done properly. Practise it only under the supervision of a physical therapist or personal trainer.
Would you like to learn more about stretching? If you do, then you should consider doing our Personal Training Diploma. Follow this link to find out more.